Apply to become a Mental Health First Aid Champion

The Royal College of Veterinary Professionals (RCVS) is encouraging veterinary professionals to become mental health first-aid champions this January.

As part of its Mind Matters Initiative (MMI), the organisation is offering to provide financial support to those who want to take part in a training course run by Mental Health First Aid England.

Partly subsidised by the MMI, the training will offer guidance on how to support mental health in the workplace. 

Keep your calendar free on Tuesday 9 January 2024, as this is when the first session will take place. The second course is scheduled for Thursday 11 January. Both sessions will run 9AM – 5PM at £40 per head. 

Advancement of the Professions and Mind Matters Director, Angharad Belcher, said: “We have been working alongside Mental Health First Aid for a couple of years now to provide subsidised training for the veterinary professions and have received fantastic feedback.

“This day long training session will help people to gain an understanding of what mental health is and how to challenge stigma, to gain the knowledge and confidence to advocate or mental health awareness, provide them with the ability to spot the signs of mental ill health and the skills to support positive wellbeing, as well as give people the confidence to support someone who is in distress or may be experiencing a mental health issue.

“While these sessions are open to all working in the veterinary professions, we are particularly encouraging vets working in rural areas or in ambulatory work to get involved. All veterinary work has its challenges, but we know from MMI funded research conducted by Scotland’s Rural College that rural and ambulatory veterinary work comes with its own set of challenges which is often compounded by working alone or having relatively limited contact with colleagues. Those working in rural areas often play integral roles within their local communities and it is therefore important to provide people with the skills to not only look after their own mental health, but with the opportunities to learn how to best support their friends and colleagues too.”

Need to talk to someone? You can call the VetLife helpline at any time on 0303 040 2551 for free and confidential support. Alternatively, register here if you would rather get in touch via email.